More thoughts on the media – on how media is becoming a new form or avenue of gossip with remarks on how we never really know whats going on despite the media

Recently, I said some interesting things about the media:

In response to someone talking about something they heard on the news I said ” . . . and you assume that its true?  You never assume anything the media says is absolutely true.”  I then said that “one should treat the media as gossip”.

To me, media is becoming a new form of gossip or maybe it would be more accurate to say that media has become a new avenue of gossip.  Perhaps we could call this “media gossip”?  Frankly, the media is starting to sound like gossiping women to me.

Gossip is seldom motivated to seek or convey the truth, even though it usually begins with the truth and sounds like the truth.  It generally has some other motive that moves it along.  As a result of this, the truth seems to change along the way.

A number of things make this aspect of gossip particularly deceiving, such as:

  • It tends to portray itself as the truth to the public which causes people to blindly believe it as truth.
  • Most “media gossip” begins with the truth, typically, but is eventually distorted in some way.  This gives the “initial look” of what the media says a quality of truth which is deceiving.

Gossip creates a number of relationships with truth, such as:

  • It may be completely true
  • It may be a distortion of a truth
  • It may be fabricated

Of these, the highest probability is that it is a distortion of truth, at least in my experience.  As a result, one should treat anything coming from the media as having a high probability of being a distortion of a truthThis means that its usually based in a truth but its been distorted in some way.  This quality is one of the most deceiving aspects about the media . . . where does the truth end and the distortion begin?  Trying to figure this out is quite a project to do and is really a waste of time.  What I end up doing is not paying that much attention to the media at all, as a general rule, and I certainly don’t seek it as a source of reliable information.  As I go through my daily life I’ll hear things coming from the media and say to myself, ” . . . it might be true . . .” and leave it at that, not taking it too seriously.

It seems, to me, that there is less likely to be distortion when there are situations such as these:

  • Its something mundane
  • It involves local happenings  

The more it becomes something more than mundane (like a controversial subject) or involving the nation or world (such as national news) the more likely it is to be distorted.  This means that a person needs to be more cautious, and suspicious, when these subjects come up.  To be frank, when these subjects appear I often ignore what they say.

Because of the distortion of media it means is that we never really know whats going on despite the fact that the media professes to be telling us what’s going on.  To me, that’s a fact of life that must be accepted.  That’s just the way it is.  In fact, I’ve always said that “after any really big event, particularly if its political, it will probably be 10 or more years before the truth comes out . . . and it won’t come out through the media . . . so don’t be in a big hurry to find out.”  Many people believe the media because they are in too big of a hurry to find out what’s going on and the media is ready to dish it out, true or not.  I want to emphasize, again, that when the truth does come out it does not come through the news media.  That’s an important point.

That’s how it looks to me anyways.

I’ve written some additional stuff on the media in these articles:

Thoughts on how to watch the news media with remarks about problems associated with news media

Thoughts on the “media situation” and its effects


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Advice???, Mass communication: media, social media, and the news, Modern life and society, Twenty first century and post cold war society and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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